Longsword by David Pilling

Monday, 25 February 2013

...and we have a winner!

I'm very happy to announce - slightly late, for which I apologise - that the winner of the free copy of my book, The Half-Hanged Man, is Stephanie Renee dos Santos! Many thanks to all of you who entered the Hearts Through History Blog Hop competition, and a shiny brand new copy of the book shall be winging its way to Stephanie very soon :)

Saturday, 9 February 2013

The Valentine's Blog Hop!

It's here - "Hearts through History,", the Valentine's Blog Hop, is now live and in progress! I, along with all the other lovely authors listed at the bottom of this post, will be talking about our favourite mushy Valentines-themed anecdotes from history, as well as hosting free giveaways for you, you lucky souls, to win.

Henry VIII (reigned 1509-47) in his pre-pies era

As an author (hem hem) I don't usually 'do' mush, preferring to concentrate on the savage politics of history, and the awesome sword-swinging, But one item did catch my eye the other day. It is number fifteen of a set of private letters King Henry VIII sent to Anne Boleyn while he was in the process of wooing her and divorcing his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

Anne Boleyn, when she was still the apple of Hal's eye

The letter is of a very personal nature, and is interesting because it gives us some real insight into the King's thoughts, and the depth of his feelings for Anne. Transcribed from the wonky-looking Tudor English, it reads as follows:

"Mine own sweetheart, this shall be to advise you of the great loneliness that I find here, since your departure, for I assure you I think the time longer since your departing now than I was wont to consider a whole fortnight. I think your kindness and my fervour of love causes it for otherwise I would not have thought it possible that for so a little a time could grieve me. But now that I am coming towards you I think my pains are half-released and I am also right well comforted in so much that my book makes substantially for my matter, in the reading whereof I have spent above four hours this day, which causes me now to write this short letter to you at this time by cause of some pain in my head. Wishing myself especially of an evening in my sweetheart's arms, whose pretty breasts I trust shortly to kiss. Written with the hand of him that was, is, and shall be yours by his will..."

It's a charming letter, all the more since it was written by a man generally considered to be a gross tyrant. This was the Henry of the late 1520s/early 1530s, when he was still quite an athletic and handsome man, and before he started to degenerate into the cruel, obese caricature of legend. His decline can perhaps be dated to the moment his marriage to Anne Boleyn turned sour, the heartless and vindictive manner in which he had her framed on all sorts of false charges, and finally executed. The letter above, and the others in the set, give us a precious insight into the man before he became a monster.

As a giveaway I am offering a FREE paperback copy of The Half-Hanged Man, my tale of an English mercenary captain set during the high point of the Hundred Years War. Please see reviews and the blurb etc below:

The Half-Hanged Man on Amazon

You can enter for the giveaway by leaving a comment on this post below. If interested, get posting!

Below is a list of the other Hop participants. Please click on the links to go to the various blogs and websites of the authors listed.

1) Random Bits of Fascination - Maria Grace
2) Me! - David Pilling website
3) Sally Smith O'Rourke
4) Daryholic Diversions (Barbara Tiller Cole)
5) Faith, Hope and Cherrytea
6) Roseanne Lortz
7) Sharon Lathan
8) Debra Brown
9) www.heyerwood.com - Lauren Gilbert
10) Regina Jeffers
11) Ginger Myrick
12 Anna Belfrage
13) Grace Elliott
14) Nancy Bilyeau
15) Wendy Dunn
16) E.M. Powell
17) Georgie Lee
18) Deborah Swift
19) Kim Rendfeld
20) Sherry Gloag
21) Lori Crane
22) Karin Aminadra
23) Heidi Ashworth
24) Stephanie Renee Dos Santos
25) Lauren Gilbert